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Anglo-Jewish Historiography. Presidential Address

Rev. S. Levy

<plain_text><page sequence="1">the JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ENGLAND anglo-jewish historiography By the Rev. S. LEVY, M.A. Presidential Address delivered at University College, London, before the Jewish Historical Society of England at the Inaugural Meeting of Session, 1907-1908, Monday, December 9, 1907. Twenty years ago I had no ambition to become President of the Jewish Historical Society. In the first place, the Jewish Historical Society was not yet born, and in the second place, the Anglo-Je wish Historical Exhi? bition of 1887 had just killed my dawning interest in Anglo-Je wish history. I was then a little lad, fresh from the provinces, with but a meagre knowledge of Jewish history and a profound ignorance of London geography. I was attracted by the announcement in the Jewish Press that visitors to the Exhibition on the Sabbath would be admitted free of charge, and would, in addition, be presented with a copy of the Catalogue. So, in my childlike innocence, on a Sabbath afternoon in the June of 1887, a typically bright summer's day, I left my lonely garret in St. George's-in-the-East, and set out for the Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington. On the road, I beguiled the tedium of many policemen on duty by asking them my way. They were interested in my Northum? brian accent, and I was charmed with their southern courtesy. I care YQL, VI. A</page><page sequence="2">2 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. fully followed their directions, and ultimately arrived at my destination. I trudged through the Exhibition, and then began to retrace my steps, eastward and homeward bound. When I got as far as Piccadilly Circus I halted, for I realised that I had still a long way to go, so I searched the firmament for the twin twinkling stars of twilight, the welcome heralds of the exit of the Sabbath, but in vain. The shades of eve were not yet falling fast. Very reluctantly I yielded to the conclusion that it was still too early to ride home, and I religiously continued on foot. Tired with tramping, and, I am afraid, somewhat out of temper, I reached my palatial chambers just in time for evening prayers. A suspicion lurks in the guilty recesses of my memory that as I piously sang the 144th Psalm, the prelude to the service for the termination of the Sabbath, I impiously read into the verses vigorous curses of the whole tribe of Anglo-Jewish historians, " Flash forth lightning, and scatter them; send out thine arrows, and confound them" (Psalm cxliv. 6). If my first experiment in Anglo-Jewish history took the form of walking, my second experiment some years later was in the nature of talking. I had just become a full-fledged clergyman, and I soon showed myself an impenitent sinner, hardened in the evil ways of my youth. For, after all, the Exhibition of 1887 had not quite quenched my ardour. My delight in Anglo-Je wish history was roused once more. In my re? awakened zeal I preached a sermon on Anglo-Je wish history, and sur? prised myself by the discovery that I could compress all my knowledge of the subject into an address, which did not exceed the twenty minutes' limit. I must frankly confess that that discourse met with an icy reception. Only two congregants favoured me with their comments, and their compliments tasted like acid-drops. The one said, "I suppose you know that that incident you told us is not history. I read it in Pieciotto." The other said, " That was an interesting fact you related, but, of course, it is not in Joseph Jacobs." Thus, on the very threshold of my enthusiasm, I was beset with perplexity. For, if whatever is in Picciotto is not Anglo-Jewish history, and whatever is not in Joseph Jacobs is Anglo-Jewish history, then what is Anglo-Jewish history? I am not now indulging in a favourite habit, preserved from the days of childhood, of asking awkward questions, to which our elders are not always able to provide a solution, but the views of those two congregants really furnish me with the text of the greater part of my address to-night.</page><page sequence="3">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 3 What is Anglo-Jewish History? What is Anglo-Jewish History? Roughly speaking, Anglo-Jewish history is the record of the history of the Jews in England. But in the light of recent advances made in historical methods, we must extend the boundaries of our subject, and include in Anglo-Je wish history, the history of Anglo-Je wish history, or, to use the technical term, Anglo Jewish Historiography. It is not surprising that hitherto this track of investigation has been neglected. It is only in quite modern times that the importance of the history of history has been recognised in the sphere of general historical investigation. It is natural, therefore, that the application of this principle to Jewish history is rather recent, and almost entirely new in the more limited field of Anglo-Jewish history. Our task then is to trace the development of the writing of Anglo-Jewish history, to compare the periods in which the different Anglo-Jewish his? torians lived, to contrast their environment and how the circumstances of their age affected their conclusions, to probe the motives which dictated their interest in the history of our people, to determine the method they adopted in writing history, to measure the reliability of their evidence, and appraise the validity of their judgment. It will probably be found that the surest line of investigation in the history of history will be that in which we select our first important source of information, and from that as our starting-point, trace through the different historians in chronological order the corrections or additions, the "Chiddushim," or "novellas," or "new" facts, which each investi? gator in turn made to the work of his predecessors, and critically to estimate the value of each link in the chain of historical tradition. William Prynne. I begin my brief outline of the history of Anglo-Jewish history with William Prynne, because I believe it is generally conceded that he was justified in his boast that he was the first to write a systematic account of the history of the Jews in England. Prynne may be regarded as the real founder of Anglo-Jewish history. We are fortunate in the fact that he is our first subject for examination. First, we know the intellectual attitude of his age towards historical inquiries. Further^ in</page><page sequence="4">4 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. the preface to his " Demurrer," he explicitly tells us how he came to be interested in Anglo-Jewish history. Again, he incidentally describes the aims and methods which the historian should pursue, and by which he himself was guided. And, lastly, although there can be no finality in historical verdicts, we have all the necessary data for helping us in testing the worth of his work. But before I enter into a consideration of these points, it will perhaps be advisable for me to give a short character-sketch of this interesting personality in English politics and Anglo-Jewish history. William Prynne was born in 1600, and died in 1669. He was a prominent figure in the politics of his time, and his courageous expression of his opinions on burning questions of the day frequently brought him into serious trouble. I must own to a little weakness for Prynne, because on one occasion, in 1637, he was punished for his outspokenness by being branded on both cheeks with the initials of my name. I am bound to add, however, that on his cheeks the letters "S. L." were intended to denote the "seditious libeller." Prynne is described by a contemporary as one of the greatest paper-worms that ever crept into a library. He was a voluminous writer, and it has been calculated that he has a page of print to his credit for every day of his life. For our purpose as students of history, it is interesting to note that he kept a commonplace book, carefully indexed according to subject. This helps us to under? stand how he was able to write the " Demurrer " in the short space of eight days. The following is a picture of Prynne at work :? His custom when he studied was to put on a long quilted cap which came an inch over his eyes, serving as an umbrella to defend them from too much light; and seldom eating a dinner, would every three hours or more be munching a roll of bread, and now and then refresh his exhausted spirits with ale brought to him by his servant (Wood, Athence Oxonienses, iii. 852). It would appear that he was fond of his personal comfort, for some time after he was appointed Keeper of the Records in the Tower of London, he penned a complaint to Charles IL, characteristic of all occupants of official residences. In proof whereof, I may quote the following extract from' the State Papers :? Petition of Wm. Prynne, keeper of records in the Tower, to the King, for an order to the Lieutenant of the Tower to put him and his clerk into possession of the Tower Chamber house, containing 11 rooms, beside those</page><page sequence="5">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 5 built in the garden, which were enjoyed by Mr. Ryley whilst he kept the records, but the Lieutenant of Ordnance has put in his clerk, Mr. Wharton ; thus they have now no fire near at hand to warm and dry themselves, and are hindered in sorting, transcribing and making tables of the records (Calen? dar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Charles IL, April 11, 1666, p. 346). Appeal to Original Records. In England, the middle of the seventeenth century was a period of great political unrest and religious ferment, and frequent appeals were made to the origin of the constitution, both civil and ecclesiastical. But the disputants did not always content themselves by saying with Rav Safra, "Bring the book and let us confirm it." They went further and tried to discover first-hand documentary evidence preserved in the national archives. Prynne was thoroughly impregnated with this spirit of his age and incessantly laid great stress on the value of original records. It is mainly for this reason that Prynne's contribution is of such first-class importance in Anglo-Jewish history. When Menasseh ben Israel came to London in 1655, and the Jewish question reached its crisis at the Whitehall Conference in December of the same year, Prynne threw himself into the fray with characteristic energy, used the weapons of historical research, and wrote his famous "Short Demurrer to the Jewes long discontinued barred Remitter into England." A "demurrer" is a method of meeting a case by resting on the alleged facts and dis? puting the conclusion based upon them. Prynne therefore meant to say that when all that was advanced in favour of readmitting the Jews to England was fully acknowledged, the case against them was still un? affected. Their "remitter," i.e. readmittance, was barred by lapse of time, and other reasons which he thought to make good. How Prynne came to intervene in the controversy is best told in his own words, taken from the Preface to the " Demurrer " :? That I may not justly suffer (so much as in thy thought) as a busie body in other men's matters, for publishing my opinion in a publick case ; wherein I conceive myself some way es interested, both as a Christian and English Free-man : I shall inform thee of the true original cause of this my sudden unpremeditated undertaking. . . . In my return homewards that day [on the seventh of December, 1655], by the garden-wall at Whitehall, Mr. Nye, the Minister, going very fast, there overtook, and saluting me by name,</page><page sequence="6">6 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. presently demanded this unexpected question of me ; Whether there were any Law of England against bringing in the Jews amongst us ? for the Lawyers had newly delivered their opinions, there was no Law against it. To which I answered, that the Jews were in the year 1290, all banished out of England, by Judgement and Edict of the King and Parliament, as a great grievance, never to return again : . . . that it was now a very ill time to bring in the Jews, when the people were so dangerously and generally bent to Apostacy, and all sorts of Novelties and Errors in Religion ; and would sooner turn Jews, than the Jews Christians. He answered, He thought it was true, and was sorry he could not discourse longer with me, the Committee about the Jews being sate, and staying for him as he feared. Whereupon, as he was turning in towards Whitehall Gate, I told him, The Jews had been formerly great clippers and forgers of money, and had crucified three or four children in England at least, which were principal causes of their banish? ment. To which he replied, That the crucifying of children was not fully charged on them by our Historians, and would easily be wiped off. Whereto I answered, He was much mistaken: and so we parted. As I kept on my way, in Lincolnes-Inne-Fields, passing by seven or eight maimed soldiers on stilts, who begged of me ; I heard them say aloud one to another, We must now all turn Jews, and there will be nothing left for the poor. And not far from them another company of poor people just at Lincolnes-Inne back Gate, cried aloud to each other: They are all turned Devils already, and now we must all turn Jews. Which unexpected concurrent providences and speeches, made such an impression on my spirit, that before I could take my rest that night, I perused most of the passages in our English Histories concerning the Jews carriage in England, with some of their misdemeanours in other parts, to refresh my memory, and satisfie my judgement; making some collections out of them, which after I enlarged and digested into this ensuing Demurrer, with as much speed as the sharpness of the season would permit; and was induced to publish it (knowing no particular discourse of this subject extant) for the general information, satisfaction of others. Again and again, Prynne emphasises the fact that he personally examined the original records, and in the second part of the " Demurrer " he devotes several pages to a spirited defence of the preservation of state documents. Criticism of Prynne. Prynne's " Demurrer," then, is valuable because it is based on bed? rock material, obtained and rescued from oblivion by dint of great labour on the part of the author himself. It must be freely admitted that Prynne invariably gives the references to his authorities, whether his</page><page sequence="7">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 7 sources of information be in manuscript or in print. Nevertheless, we differ from his conclusions ; first, because in selecting and presenting his material he displays a passionate anti-Jewish bias ; and, secondly, because in the interpretation of the records he shows himself imbued with a pre? conceived view. He does not pause to test the authenticity of his data, just where we are entitled to question them. Many of the statements rest on the flimsiest foundation, with no better evidence than that sup? plied by racial prejudice. Prynne's strong individuality peeps through every page. Few historians betray a stronger passion for self-expression. It is this subjective quality which constitutes at one and the same time the charm and defect of his work, and which gives to his " Demurrer " the conscious malignity of caricature where we demand fair-minded charac? terisation. When he fights, he ceases to wear white-kid gloves, and throws vitriol without the slightest scruple. Having regard to Prynne's pronounced anti-Jewish animus, one circumstance has always surprised me. Prynne, in his " Demurrer," refers to Menasseh ben Israel by name more than once, and Menasseh ben Israel in his Vindicitv, mentions Prynne by name. But in the heat of discussion they both write of each other in courteous terms, at all events, without the slightest tinge of bitterness. I cannot help feeling that Prynne and Menasseh must have been personally acquainted and entertained a feeling of mutual respect. In his will, Prynne left all his manuscripts to the Library of Lincoln's Inn, of which he was a Bencher. The manuscripts were never received there. I have been trying to discover what became of them, but so far without success. But when Prynne's manuscripts do see the light of day, I fully expect to find among them some letters from Menasseh ben Israel, perhaps including a friendly invitation to dinner, and beginning most affectionately, " My dear Willie " :? Oh, come round and dine with Me-nasseh. Oh, do, dear Willie Prynne. In spite of Prynne's unfriendly attitude on the Jewish question, we may still leave him with a kindly thought. He tried to revive the Blood Accusation in England, but his attempt was a complete fiasco. I have already read his admission that Thomas Nye, a member of the Whitehall Conference told him, that the crucifying of children was not proved by history, and would easily be wiped out. Never since has the foul libel</page><page sequence="8">8 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. been repeated in English-speaking countries. Further, Prynne endea? voured to prove that the re-admission of the Jews into England was contrary to the laws of the realm, but the Whitehall Conference at its very first sitting had already decided that there was no law which forbade the Jews' return to England. Lastly, he strove to prevent the Jews landing again on this island. Well, here we are. Thus, happily for us, he completely failed in all the three objects for which he wrote his " Demurrer," but incidentally he gave us the first full account of English Jewry in the pre-Expulsion period. After two hundred and fifty years, his " Demurrer" is still indispensable to the student of Anglo-Jewish history. With all his faults, he was the first real historian of Anglo-Jewry. I think, therefore, that on the whole we can afford to be generous to his memory. Thomas Madox. The next important contribution to Anglo-Jewish history was made fifty-six years later in 1711 by Thomas Madox (1666-1727). Madox had no direct interest in Anglo-Jewish history. He was primarily con? cerned with the history of the Exchequer. But when he came to deal with the thirteenth century and found a mass of materials relating to the Exchequer of the Jews, like the true student that he was, he gave them the careful consideration they richly deserved, and embodied his results in a special chapter, chapter vii. of his famous " History and Antiquities of the Exchequer of the Kings of England " (1711). Madox, like Prynne, gives us a delightful preface, with many a charming personal touch, and also, like Prynne, describes his favourite method of writing history. He tells us how he made diligent researches among the public records in order to collect authentic data for his work. The records which I here vouch, were taken by my own pen from the authentic membranes. . . . The public records of the Crown and Kingdom . . . are the foundation which sustain the whole fabric of this history . . . so that in the fabric there is nothing feeble except what is properly mine, namely, disposition and workmanship. However, I hope I shall be the more easily pardoned for what may be amiss ; if it be considered, that with my own industry and expense, the materials here used were dug out of deep and hidden mines, the model of the building was framed, the columns adjusted, the stones squared, weighed, and disposed, in sum the whole fabric raised and</page><page sequence="9">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 9 perfected in such manner as it is. . . . My ambition was to form this history in such a manner that it may be a pattern for the antiquaries to follow, if they please, I mean purely in reference to the method of vouching testi? monies. For I think it is to be wished, that the histories of a country so well furnished with records and manuscripts as ours is, should be grounded throughout (as far as is practicable) on proper vouchers. And for my own part, I cannot look upon the History of England to be completely written, till it shall come to be written after that manner (Preface, vi-ix). Madox is a model of industry and accuracy, and his work is still regarded as the standard authority on the whole subject of the Ex? chequer. D'Blossiers Tovey. Our next historian is D'Blossiers Tovey (1692-1745), who in 1738 published " Anglia Judaica; or the History and Antiquities of the Jews in England, collected from all our historians, both printed and manu? script, as also from the records in the Tower and other public reposi? tories. " Tovey is a most tantalising writer. He made long and frequent quotations from the works of his two predecessors, Prynne and Madox, but he fell a victim to the perverse habit of forgetting the use of inverted commas. Eventually he became so absent-minded that he thought entirely original what he had simply copied or borrowed from other sources. In 1753, fifteen years after the publication of "Anglia Judaica," P. C. Webb summed Tovey up rather severely, and charged him with plagiarism in a blunt and direct manner, altogether lacking in the deli? cacy and finesse with which I have ventured to express the same con? clusion. " Dr. Tovey," says Webb, " owes more obligations to Mr. Prynne than to all other authors, he having transcribed from him by much the greatest part of the records he has published, without owning the theft" ("The Question whether a Jew," 1753, p. 31). It is a great pity that Tovey was such a kleptomaniac in the domain of historical study, because he did add some fresh material of his own, e.g. he was the first to call attention to the Bodleian Bowl. Further, he occasionally shows a pretty wit. For instance, in describing a seal appended to a Jewish deed in Merton College Treasury, he says, " The graven image upon this seal can't be thought a breach of the Second Commandment; for it is the likeness of nothing that is in heaven, earth or water."</page><page sequence="10">10 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. Mandell Creighton. Tovey was the Vicar of Embleton in my native county of Northum? berland from 1727 to 1732. But as the shadow of dishonesty rests upon his name, I prefer to recall another Vicar of Embleton, and a far greater historian, Mandell Creighton (1843-1901), whom we all remember as the late Bishop of London. Creighton wrote his " History of the Papacy " at Embleton under the most remarkable conditions. I see him now in his small library, stuffed with books from floor to ceiling, standing at his desk, with a volume of Muratori before him, turning out page after page of the " History of the Papacy." He used humorously to complain it would be very dry. I pleaded once for a little exercise of the imagination in filling up the details of a picture of which only a bare outline could be got from the chronicles. "I always like to stick very close to my authorities," he replied. . . . What struck some of them most was his extraordinary power of work in the midst of distractions. He laboured at his "Popes" in the same room with the rest. Between the sentences he would see a parishioner, look over the work of a pupil or of one of the children, talk to Mrs. Creighton, or see anyone who wished to see him. "He never seemed to mind being inter? rupted, and he was never irritable, never in a hurry " {Quarterly Review, April 1901, pp. 595, 596). What has all this to do with my main theme1? Nothing. So let me proceed. Important Dates in Anglo-Jewish History. It is curious how the middle years of the last three centuries have in turn produced the most important dates in Anglo-Jewish history. In 1655 was held the Whitehall Conference. In 1753, the Jews' Naturalisa? tion Bill was passed, and repealed the following year, and in 1858, the Jews were admitted into Parliament. P. C. Webb. Just as the "Demurrer" owed its composition to the part played by Prynne in the controversy of 1655, so the tract, entitled "The Question whether a Jew born within the British Dominions was, before</page><page sequence="11">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 11 the making of the last Act of Parliament, a person capable by law to hold Lands to him and to his Heirs, fairly stated and considered," derives its inception from the intervention of Philip Carteret Webb (1700-1770) in the discussion on the Jew Bill of 1753. That Bill called forth a deluge of pamphlet literature, but Webb's contribution is singled out because the author added an "appendix containing copies of public records relating to the Jews." At this time of day, it is the appendix which is the most important part of Webb's work. With Webb, in 1753, we reach the last of the real pioneers in Anglo-Jewish history. For a very long period after him we have to be satisfied with mere kaleidoscopic reproductions of Prynne, Madox, Tovey, and Webb. We have to wait a full century before we find Anglo-Je wish history resting once more on a sound scientific basis. And even then, the revival of the study of Anglo-Jewish history was not conscious and deliberate, but by a mere accident, research in Anglo Jewish history became part of the work of the nation. In 1857, the study of English history received a strong impetus by the reorganised State publication of original records preserved in the national archives. Many of the documents brought to light in the Rolls' Series and Calendars of State Papers, inaugurated in 1857, were found to throw a clearer light on the history of the Jews in England. J. E. Blunt. It would be unfair, however, to judge the intervening hundred years, from 1753 to 1857, as altogether a blank and negligible page in the history of Anglo-Jewish history. In 1830, seventy-seven years after W^ebb, John Elijah Blunt (1797-1856) published his "History of the Establishment and Residence of the Jews in England : with an Inquiry into their Civil Disabilities." It is a useful little manual, but no injustice is done to the author in regarding it on the whole as merely a convenient summary of the work of his predecessors, Prynne, Madox, Tovey, and Webb. Grace Aguilar. 1847 is a most interesting date in Anglo-Jewish historiography, for in that year there appeared the first sketch of Anglo-Jewish history</page><page sequence="12">12 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. from the pen of a member of our own faith. And, place aux dames, it was the work of a Jewess, Grace Aguilar (1816-1847). Her " History of the Jews in England" was published anonymously in Chambers's Miscellany for 1847, and, pathetically enough, it was her last work, for she died at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, September 16, 1847. "In point of style," says the Jeioish Encyclopedia, "it is the most finished of her produc? tions, free from the exuberances and redundancies that disfigure the tales." In one of his letters, Macaulay wrote : "I shall not be satisfied unless I produce something which shall for a few days supersede the last fashionable novel on the tables of young ladies." I hope that in the not distant future, our Society will republish Grace Aguilar's sketch of Anglo-Je wish history, and thus let Grace Aguilar, the historian, enter into friendly rivalry with Grace Aguilar, the novelist, for the affection of the reading public. Moses Margoliouth. Four years later, in 1851, we pass from a fervent Jewess to an apostate Jew, from Grace Aguilar to Moses Margoliouth (1820-1881). " The History of the Jews in Great Britain," by Moses Margoliouth, is refreshingly free from the anti-Jewish feeling frequently displayed by the renegade, and its author courageously sided with English Jews in their struggle for political emancipation. But Margoliouth's effort does not rank high as a history. He has copied a mass of notes, and thrown them together in the three volumes before us, with little or no regard to chronology, sequence of story or connection of subject. Of the nature and requirements of a work pro? fessing to take rank as a " history " he has apparently no proper conception. . . . His industry in collecting notes loses more than half its value by his inability to make proper use of the information obtained. . . . There is building material in the three volumes, if no building; and although we are far from considering it as a complete quarry of materials, it is at least a con? siderable collection, and must therefore be useful to the next craftsman who shall try his hand on the theme (AthencBum, June 14, 1851). While he has given us a narrative, he has failed in producing a history (Jewish Chronicle, July 25, 1851). Those who have read Margoliouth's work will not hesitate to endorse the views embodied in these two critiques.</page><page sequence="13">4%. GRACE AQUILAR. JAMES PICCIOTTO.</page><page sequence="14">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 13 James Picciotto. Twenty-four years after Margoliouth, James Picciotto (1830-1897) came to the rescue of his sex, and has the honour of being the first Jew who wrote a fairly elaborate account of the history of the Jews in Eng? land. His "Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History," published in 1875, contains a reprint of a series of articles originally contributed to the Jewish Chronicle. And here I may add that the Anglo-Jewish Press, without exception, have consistently shown a friendly and helpful atti? tude to the cause of Anglo-Jewish research. Picciotto's work "gave the first authentic account from the Synagogue Records of the history of the Disraeli family and their secession from Judaism " (Bibliotheca Anglo Judaica, 58). " Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History" makes pleasant reading. It is a creditable achievement, but it is not of great scientific value. It is true that at the end Picciotto gives an alphabetical list of the authorities he consulted, but no references are quoted for particular statements, and there is no bibliography for the contents of the separate chapters. The most serious omission is the author's entire neglect of the manuscript material available at the Record Office. Nevertheless, Picciotto's book was not without its effect in stimulating the historic consciousness of the Anglo-Jewish community, and it helped to pave the way for later developments on more scientific lines. Picciotto was the last of the old regime of Anglo-Jewish historians, and with him my brief review of Anglo-Jewish historiography must conclude. The Work of Alfred Newman. One more name, however, I must recall. Alfred Alvarez Newman (1851-1887) was not a historian, but he was an industrious collector of Anglo-Judaica. He was one of the first to give his enthusiastic support to the suggestions for the holding of the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibi? tion of 1887, and the formation of the Jewish Historical Society of England, which was afterwards founded in 1893. Unfortunately he did not live to see the realisation of either scheme. But it is only just that we should pay a grateful tribute to his memory, when we are reaping so much of what he helped to sow,</page><page sequence="15">14 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. The Modern School of Anglo-Jewish Historians. " Before the sun of Eli set, the sun of Samuel rose." Before the sun of Picciotto set, the suns of other Anglo-Je wish historians began to appear above the horizon, and inaugurated the modern period of real research. Happily this enthusiastic band of investigators is still in our midst. They are all actively and acutely conscious of one another's shortcomings, and are genuinely actuated by the principle that the con? troversies of scholars tend to increase the sum of human wisdom. In my outline to-night of the history of Anglo-Jewish history, I have found it safer and wiser to specify only the dead. If then there be any in this assembly who feel hurt by the omission of their name from my review, let them retire to rest with the consoling reflection that it is better to be a living student than an extinct historian. In his " Urn Burial," Sir Thomas Browne says, " The iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. . . . Who knows whether the best of men be known, or whether there be not more remarkable persons forgot, than any that stand remembered in the known account of time?" Let us then not be unmindful of the unobtrusive services rendered by many an obscure chronicler or modest scribe, who, contemporaneously even with the various historians I have particularised, from Prynne to Picciotto, made useful contributions to the store of our knowledge of Anglo-Jewish history. Contrasts between the Old and the New Schools. Before I leave this chapter of Anglo-Jewish historiography, I should like to call attention to two points of contrast between the old and the new schools of Anglo-Jewish research. During the period from Prynne to Picciotto, extending over two hundred and twenty years, with the two exceptions of Grace Aguilar and James Picciotto, all the historians of Anglo-Jewry were Christians. But in the new era which dawned with the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition of 1887, nearly all the modern students are members of our own race and faith. We are rapidly entering into full and undisputed possession of our rightful inheritance. In the second place, during the first two hundred years</page><page sequence="16">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 15 when Anglo-Jewish history was being written from 1655 to 1858, interest in the subject was for the most part the result of controversy on the civil and political status of the Jews. But now our investigations are traceable to a genuine and disinterested pursuit of historical knowledge. Anglo-Jewish history is, on the whole, in a far better plight than general English history. Frederick York Powell has called attention to the fact that the study of English history is under deep obligations to the works of distinguished scholars in other countries. We owe to an American, Dr. Charles Gross, the first comprehensive study of the main institutions of our old times since the classic treatise by Madox. Wre owe to a Russian, Professor Vinogradoff, the first adequate investigation into our mediaeval villeinage ; to a German Hebrew, Lieber? mann, the best edition of our Old English Laws ; to a Dane, Dr. Steenstrup, the only history of the settlement of the Northmen in our Islands; to a Frenchman, M. Paul Meyer, the discovery and publication in masterly form of the biography of one of the greatest of Englishmen, William the Marshall. If foreigners find so much to do, there must be plenty for us to busy ourselves with (Oliver Elton, Frederick York Powell, ii. 92). And we have recently had the nearest approach to an adequate biography of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, from Dr. Albert von Ruville, of Berlin. But such a complaint cannot with justice be levelled against the modern study of Anglo-Jewish history. We may gratefully acknowledge the value of S. Goldschmidt's Geschichte der Juden in England, published in 1886, but for the last twenty-five years the best work on Anglo-Jewish history has been done on English soil by writers to whom England is their home, either by birth or adoption. That we have the right to make this proud boast is one of the greatest achieve? ments of our Society. The Proper Function of the Society. In commenting on Deuteronomy xx. 5-7, Maimonides says: " Man should first secure a living, then prepare a residence, and after that seek a wife. But fools act otherwise : they marry first, then look out for a house, and at last think of the means of obtaining a livelihood." The Jewish Historical Society is not composed of fools. We have first taken the precaution of securing a steady membership, and the subscriptions</page><page sequence="17">16 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. flow in with commendable regularity. If I may take you into my confi? dence, I am not really a student of Jewish history at all. In every-day life I am the secretary of a deficit synagogue, and I feel quite out of my element in presiding over the destinies of a learned Society, which persists year after year in showing a respectable balance on the right side. I hope, therefore, to make a desperate effort to get the Society into debt before my tenure of office terminates. One item in our coming pro? gramme which will involve considerable outlay, will, I trust, commend itself to your approval. In July 1908 will occur the fiftieth anniversary of the admission of the Jews into the English Parliament. It will be the duty of our Society to organise a communal celebration of that jubilee, which, provisionally speaking, will include a special service, a festival dinner, and the publication of a commemoration volume con? taining a complete account of the movement for Jewish political emanci? pation in England. To return to Maimonides, our Society has strictly followed his advice. We have an income, and we have established and endowed our home in this institution in the Mocatta Library. The problem now presents itself, whom shall we marry? To whom shall we propose to act as the mistress of our habitation 1 I have no hesitation in giving my vote for the English Jewess, in other words, Anglo-Jewish history. Our Society should, in my opinion, endeavour to resist all temptations to belong to other nations. Invite as many guests as you please, but let Anglo-Jewish history reign supreme in her own domain. Localisation of Historical Research. It would be futile for me to deny that nature has made me a " Little Englander," but I strongly urge that my view of the proper function of our Society is not narrow-minded or petty. The scientific tendency in historical investigation is towards localisation of effort, and the Jewish history of the future will also be most effectively written on co-operative principles, aided by a free exchange of national products. Let the Jews of England devote themselves to the task of writing Anglo Jewish history, the Jews of Germany to German-Jewish history, and the Jews of America to American-Jewish history, and let each country in the prosecution of its work communicate its discoveries to the respective</page><page sequence="18">ANGLO-JEWISH HrSTOKIOGRAPHY. 17 countries to which the new information most appropriately belongs. For instance, the English State Papers contain letters which throw light on the history of Sabbatai Zevi, the Turkish Messiah. November 10, 1665.?H. 0?? to Williamson. Thinks the report of the Jewish king's turning Turk is false. Letters from Smyrna import that the king was gone from Gallipoli to Grand Seignior at Adrianople, but being taken with fear by the way, turned Turk to escape danger. The Jews do not believe this, but are confident the work will go on. It was before thought that it would cost him his life if he went to the Grand Seignior, but as he has been received with all honor, some consider he must be turned Turk (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, Charles II., 1665-1666, p. 50). July 12, 1666.?Thos. Chapell to James Fitton, Chester. . . . The King of the Jews, who was reported to- be destroyed, is still living; the Grand Seignior having to go to Adrianople, to prepare against the Tartars, has sent him to a castle at Gallipoli, and allows him 50 aspers a day, the same as he does to his chiefest commanders. This removal is to avoid any tumults, Constantinople being full of strangers from all parts, who flocked to see and speak with him. He has assured the Jews that the redemption of Israel is at hand, as will be proclaimed to the world by great miracles, when the prophet Nathan arrives. At Constantinople, he was in a palace of the Grand Seignior, with rabbis and teachers, the books of the law, and the free exercise of ceremonies, and Jews might freely visit him. He had leave to go abroad in public, but refused it till the time came for him to manifest himself. A pillar of fire, with several stars, was seen hovering over the place where he was. He appeared in the [Grand] Turk's bedchamber, and several men sent by the Vizier to strangle him fell down dead in his presence (ibid., p. 526). October 11, 1666.?From Smyrna comes an account of a fresh gadding humour of the Jews to visit their imprisoned Messiah, whose authority is now so great with them as to turn their fast for the destruction of the temple into a day of rejoicing because it is his birthday (ibid., 1666-1667, pp. 191, 192). Mr. Israel Solomons has kindly furnished me with the following list of rare Fmglish tracts in his possession, relating to Sabbatai Zevi:? 1. The I Restauration | of the | Jewes : | or, a true | relation | of their | progress and proceedings | in order to the regaining of their ancient | King? dom I being the substance of several | letters | viz. | from | Antwerp, | Legorn, | Florence, etc. | Published by R. R. London, Printed by A. Maxwell, in the year 1665. 4to, 6 pp. 2. Several New | Letters, | concerning the Jewes: | sent to divers | persons of quality ) here in | England : | being | a perfect relation of the miracles | wrought by their prophet, the magni | ficence of their King, with the VOL. VI. B</page><page sequence="19">18 ANGLO-JEWISII HISTORIOGRAPHY. manner j of Iiis entertainments in the Court of the | Grand Signier. | London, printed by A. Maxwell for Robert Boulter, at the | Sign of the Turks Head in Cornhil, mdclxvi. 4to, 6 pp. 3. A new letter | concerning the | Jewes, | written by the | French am? bassador, I at j Constantinople, | to his brother the | French Resident at Venice. | Being a true relation of the proceedings of the | Israelites, the wonderful miracles wrought by | their prophet, with the terrible Judgments that I have fallen upon the Turks. | London, Printed by A. Maxwell for Robert Boulter, at the Turks-Head in Cornhil, 1666. 4to, 6 pp. 4. Gods love | to his | people Israel, | being a true copy of a | letter | as it was sent to the | East-India Company, | concerning the | Jewes : | with | a more perfect account of them, their | prophet, and the miracles he hath | wrought, than hath hitherto | been extant. | London, Printed by A. Maxwell, in the year 1666. 4to, 6 pp. 5. The I History | of the three late famous | Impostors, | viz. | ... Sabatai Sevi. . . . The supposed Messiah of the Jews in the year of the true Messiah. 1666. . . . In the Savoy, Printed for Henry Herringman at the sign | of the anchor in the Lower-Walk of | the New Exchange. 1669. By John Evelyn. 6. News I from | the Jewes, | or a true | relation | of a great prophet, in the southern parts of Tartaria. . . . London. 1671. [Perhaps this does not refer to Sabatai Zevi, as the spelling in this tract is Shilo Sabathai.] 7. Two Journeys to Jerusalem containing . . . An account of the wonder? ful delusion of the Jews, by a counterfeit messiah, or false Christ at Smyrna, in 1666 . . . with an illustration of Sabatai Zevi blessing his followers. London. 1683. [Other editions followed in 1685, 1692,1699, 1704,1730,1738,1759,1762.] 8. The Devil of Delphos, or, the prophets of Baal: containing an account of a notorious impostor call'd Sabatai Sevi. London. 1708. 9. A looking glass for the Jews : . . . containing . . . The surprising history of Sabatay Sevi, the counterfeit Messiah, in 1666. London. 1753. 10. Memorable remarks upon the ancient and modern state of the Jewish nation. Bolton. 1786. [Contains an account of Sabatai Zevi.] 11. Judseorum Memorabilia . . . of a false messiah at Smyrna. Bristol. 1796. These particulars we can generously refer to the Jews of Turkey. Again, in the Royal Institution of Great Britain are preserved some manuscripts relating to the history of the Jews in America at the end of the eighteenth century. Copies of these entries we can transmit to our American brethren.</page><page sequence="20">ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. 19 See Historical Manuscripts Commission. Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain. The following are some of the entries which on the surface seem to refer to Jews in America:? Vol. I. (1904). Franks, David, commissary of prisoners, 316, 322, 359, 361. -Moses, 316 ; letter from, 359. Jacob, Captain, 83. Lyons, Captain, 44. Solomon, Lieut. John, 265. Van Braam, Captain or Major Jacob, 122, 148, 277, 447; letters from, 277, 480. Vol. II. (1906). Ackerson, Jacob, refugee, 411. Hart, Benjamin, master of Maria, 514 ; memorial from, 495. Isaacs, Dr. Samuel, memorial, certificate, and deposition by, 268, 495, 516. Jews, 37. Lyon, Joseph, letter from, 343. Myers, Benjamin, 266. -Eachel, refugee, 266. Vandam, Mr., 521. Van Norden, Gabriel, 98. Yurex, or Yurrick, Isaac, 235; petition from, 433. Vol. III. (1907). Ackerson, Jacob, memorial of, 32. Goodman, Isaac, petition and letter of, 317, 365 ; letter to, 363. Hart, Benjamin, 6. -Jacob, 305. Henry, Moses, 203, 207. Joel, Captain, 2. Levy, Joshua, 288. Simons, Mr., 9. Touro, Isaac, petition of, 260. Van Dam, Mr., 6. Van der Poel, Isaac, memorials of, 7, 337. Reciprocally, in the Venetian State Papers there are some references to crypto-Jews settling in this country at an earlier date than generally assumed.</page><page sequence="21">20 ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORIOGRAPHY. Marc' Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate. London, 20th August 1609. Many Portuguese merchants in this city have been discovered to be living secretly as Jews. Some have already left, and others have had a little grace granted to allow them to wind up their business in spite of the laws, which are very severe on this subject. These men are such scoundrels that I am told, the better to hide themselves, they have not only frequently attended Mass at some one or other of the Embassies, but have actually received the Holy Eucharist (Venetian State Papers, 1609, ? 588). This item we are entitled to annex for our own history. It is in this way that we shall gradually accumulate all the materials which will go towards making the complete history of the Jews through? out the globe. The dilettante may indulge in cosmopolitan attentions to every region of knowledge. The intellectual flirt bent on the mere enjoyment of the fleeting moment may be content with a bird's-eye view of history. But the true and constant lover devotes himself to the ideal of acquiring a more intimate and exclusive acquaintance with the object of his affectionate study. Particularly in the case of a country like Eng? land, possessing a rich mine of records by no means exhausted, is it necessary to insist that research begins at home ? The Jewish History of the Future. It is no longer possible for the history of the Jews to be written by any one man, however gifted he may be. We must wait for the appear? ance of a Jewish Lord Acton, with the requisite genius for organising the composition of a comprehensive history of our people. In the mean? time, however, we must not be idle. Each country must perform its allotted duty and carry on its own peculiar investigations. We must all be humble artisans, preparing the bricks and mortar, so that when the great artist and architect does appear on the scene, we shall be ready at his bidding and in accordance with his plan to place straightway each piece in its proper place. And thus, as was the case with the sanctuary in Jerusalem, no sound of a tool will be heard, as noiselessly and peace? fully the temple of Jewish history gets erected, a noble structure, the perfection of beauty and the joy of the whole earth,</page></plain_text>